Reasons Not to Accept a Counter Offer


If you are in the process of looking for a new job and have received an offer from a potential new employer, you might well find yourself in the situation where your current employer comes up with a counter-offer to try and entice you to stay. There are a number of reasons they might do this. For example, you may have proved yourself to be an invaluable member of the team or you may have certain skills that no one else at the company has. There is also the fact that recruiting new staff can be an expensive venture for any company.

Many job seekers might be tempted to accept this offer and it’s easy to see why it can seem like a great option at the time. It will usually involve a higher salary, perhaps with a couple of other perks on the side, maybe even some sort of promotion. Sticking with your current job is also likely to be a much easier option on many levels. You know the people and the routine, whereas changing jobs comes with a whole host of new things to learn and not to mention the nerve-wracking first few days.

However it’s important to think carefully about why you’ve made the decision to look for other jobs in the first place. Perhaps you weren’t feeling valued or the company culture wasn’t a good fit for you. Maybe you weren’t feeling challenged enough with little prospect of career progression on the horizon. These are just a few out of a long list of legitimate reasons to leave a job. Does the counter offer you’ve received tackle the underlying reasons you’re looking for new work? Or do you think you’ll be hitting the job boards again in a few months time?

Here are a few reasons why you should not accept that counter offer and go for that new job.

1. A higher salary isn’t everything

Even if your counter offer includes a much more attractive salary than the one you’re currently on, this is unlikely to have a lasting effect on how you feel about other aspects of the role or the company. Even if it was your salary that prompted you to look for other jobs in the first place, is it likely to happen again in the future the next time you’re due for a pay review? This sort of scenario is likely to leave you feeling undervalued and unmotivated.

The number of people who leave their jobs due to pay are very much in the minority, only 12%, so it’s highly likely that you’re looking to leave your job for another reason. Interestingly, almost 90% of employers think that more money is why employees have left. When you receive a counter offer, you need to think very carefully about whether or not a higher salary will help you feel differently about your issues with your job.

2. Your relationship with your employer will be different

Once your employer knows that you’ve been looking for other jobs seriously enough that you’ve got to the stage of receiving an offer, they might start to question your loyalty and there won’t be the same level of trust. This might prove tricky for your future growth at the company as your employer might think that you’re likely to leave soon anyway and will pass over you when it comes to training or opportunities for progression.

3. New challenges help progression

You might feel a little bored or frustrated in your current role if you’re not being challenged and not being given opportunities to progress. If another employer has seen your potential and offered to help you realise it, you should take this opportunity with both hands. It may not be within your comfort zone but you will almost certainly get a lot more out of the experience than your current role.

4. You have not been paid as much as you should have been

If your current employer comes up with a counter offer which is a significant increase on your current salary, for example, much more than you’d expect from your next pay rise, this is an indicator that you haven’t been paid your worth. Alarm bells should be ringing, especially if the company has a reputation for not paying competitive salaries. A company that truly values its employees will pay fair wages without being prompted by the threat of losing them.

5. Counter offers are much less satisfying than a pay rise

Employees who accept counter offers often have the uncomfortable feeling that they have been bought rather than rewarded. A pay rise will often come with the feeling of achievement and great satisfaction. The rather unsatisfying feeling that accompanies a counter offer will do nothing to help you move forward and fix the issues that led to your job search in the first place.

Keep in mind that a pay rise given as part of a counter offer, may well have an impact on future pay rises. You may not see as much of a rise next time you’re up for a pay review, which is also likely to lead to dissatisfaction.

6. You might end up with less job security by accepting a counter offer

If your company faces a tricky time in the future, perhaps disruption in the industry or the loss of a big client forces them to make redundancies, you may well find yourself near the top of the list of people to go. If you’ve looked for other jobs before, your employer might think you’re likely to do so again and don’t see you as a long term player at the company.

What if you do want to accept the counter offer?

If you decide that the counter offer does address your grievances in practical ways and you believe this will make a long term difference to your future at the company, you might decide that this is the best route for you. If this is the case, make sure you get everything in writing from your employer and that any changes made to your contract are dealt with in the correct way.

On the other side of things, you’ll need to tell the employer that was looking to hire you that you’ve decided not to accept their offer. Make sure that you do this in a way that leaves things on a positive note as you may want to follow up on this offer at some point in the future. If there was a recruiter involved in the process, make sure you end things positively with them as well. After all, you never know when you might need their assistance again.

In most cases, the best thing for the employee is to move forward with the offer from the new employer. They have recognised your potential and are willing to invest in you. This will usually result in a much more productive relationship than the one with your previous employer. Take the counteroffer as recognition of your skills and achievements with your current company and move onwards and upwards with your new employer.